Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education


The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education is a unique educational program designed to enhance leadership skills in gerontology. The program is based upon development of specific geriatric competencies across services sectors and with the diverse older adult population.  It is offered, with appropriate variation in course work, competencies, and field experience, for both Master’s and Bachelor’s students.

Application Deadline: February 15th (BASW) and May 1st (MSW)

Program Benefits

Training stipend varies by field site. Minimum is $4,000

Benefits for Hartford Fellows:

  • Field experiences have been developed with long-standing community partners to provide greater access to aging-related programs, understand the breadth of services, and the diversity of needs in the local aging population.
  • Opportunities to learn from outstanding faculty and community leaders.
  • Contacts to and networking with leaders and organizations serving older adults in Western Pennsylvania.
  • Opportunities to attend local conferences and programs on aging and gerontology.
  • Student seminars and professional development experiences that give students the opportunity to learn from and with each other, as well as from their field instructors and outside experts.
  • Fellows can become certified as Ageless Wisdom trainers
  • MSW Fellows earn graduate DP Gerontology Certificate or graduate COSA Gerontology Certificate

Past students share what they liked most about being a part of Hartford

“The opportunities it brought me! The opportunity to have an involved field experience and the mentorship from Hartford fellows was beneficial to my learning to work with older adults. I also appreciated having the opportunity to network with others in the field who gave me insight and guidance. The seminars provided beneficial new information that gave me fresh perspective on helping the aging population. I also enjoyed giving back to the community through creating my project.”

“The opportunity to get to know other students interested in working with the older adult population.”

Field Placement Options     

The Hartford fellowship offers a robust variety of competency-based internship opportunities for our students who have an interest in working with older adults. Our partnership field sites provide our students the opportunity to work with individuals, families, and small groups, as well as organizations, and communities. Some, like the ones in Palliative Care provide a medically focused experience with those who have life limiting illnesses and require an additional layer of support and intervention. Others like, SWPPA provide our macro focused students the chance to understand the impact of policy and administration on the service delivery system for older adults. Our field instructors are experts in the field of gerontology, and many are Pitt Hartford Alumni. They provide supervision, guidance and mentoring to the field experience.

Examples of field sites include:

  • Veterans Administration
    • UPMC
      • Palliative Care
      • Senior Services
      • Inpatient Behavioral Health
      • Healthplan
    • Southwestern PA Partnership for Aging
  • Community-based agencies
  • Skilled nursing and rehabilitation

Program Learning Objectives

Participants will gain exposure and build skills in the following areas:

  • Aging services, programs, and policies
  • Values, ethics, theoretical perspectives
  • Assessment
  • Interventions for older adults and families
  • Communicating with older adults
  • Working with diverse populations
  • Professional leadership skills
  • Professional presentation skills

Participation Commitments

Ongoing participation is critical to the success of this training program. Students are required to:

  • Complete the required number of hours of field work at designated Hartford agencies
  • Complete all paperwork, clearances, and trainings required by the field agency
  • Participate in all evaluations and reports for the Hartford Fellowship
  • Complete required coursework toward the Gerontology Certificate (MSW only)
  • Participation in the Ageless Wisdom aging sensitivity training program, including helping to present the program to MSW and BASW students
  • Maintain timely communication with the Fellowship Coordinator and other cohort members
  • Each cohort is required to develop and implement a community-based/leadership project (see example projects at the bottom of the page). Students have the opportunity to showcase their projects at the end of the year for faculty, staff, and professionals in the community as an
  • Students are required to attend a monthly seminar (meeting) with their peers. Attendance at these seminars is mandatory and will count toward students’ total field practicum hours.

Seminars may include interprofessional learning opportunities and cover topics such as:

  • Sex and the Senior Adult
  • Alzheimer’s and Art (hosted by the Carnegie Museum of Art or the Andy Warhol Museum)
  • Advancing telehealth technology serving older adults
  • Becoming a trauma-informed practitioner (hosted by the Center for Victims)
  • Professional development (in partnership with the Pittsburgh Foundation)
  • Attendance at the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging Annual Conference

(NOTE: topics and speakers will vary each year. This is a sample.)

Watch our April 13, 2022 seminar: “Serving Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders.” This seminar was a collaboration between the Hartford Fellowship, Coalition on Opioid and Addictions Leadership (COAL), and the Program Evaluation and Research unit (PERU) of the School of Pharmacy.

Application Requirements

All application materials must be submitted using the links below. Attached/uploaded documents must have your last name and the type of document (Ex. Smith_CoverLetter)

  1. Updated resume
  2. Statement of interest
    1. In no more than 5 paragraphs, please discuss why you would like to participate in this fellowship experience.  What attracts you to this project? What strengths do you bring that can be engaged in this learning experience? What do you hope to gain from the experience?  How will it contribute to your achieving your career goals?
  3. ​Letter of recommendation (can be professional or academic).

Selection Process

  • Number of positions varies but can range from 2-4 BASW and 6-8 MSW students.
  • Applicants will be interviewed by a selection committee composed of 2 Pitt SSW faculty members, the fellowship coordinator, and 1 staff member as a social worker at a partner field site.
  • All BASW student applicants will be notified about their status by March 5; all MSW student applicants will be notified of their status (accepted, wait-listed, denied) by June 10th.
  • Final acceptance into the program is contingent on the student’s interview and acceptance at a designated Hartford field site.


BASW Timeline

Application Deadline:                             February 17

Interview and Review:                            Week of February 27th

Notification:                                            March 8th

Candidate Acceptance Deadline:          March 31st


MSW Timeline

Application Deadline:                               May 1

Interview and Review:                              May 1-31st

Notification:                                              June 10

Candidate Acceptance Deadline:             June 15th

If there are unfilled positions, rolling applications will be accepted and reviewed:  June--August

Rolling application and wait list notification:  August 15th

Waitlist Policy

Once a student formally accepts a fellowship appointment, they will be removed from any other training program wait list.

Contact Information

Hartford Fellowship Coordinator, Kelsey Ott-Sudik

Email: keo97@pitt.edu


Previous Fellows' Projects